Michaela Watkins Q&A: ‘Casual’

“I’ve said multiple times that if I wasn’t an actress, I would really be into being a therapist because I’m obsessed with human behavior,” reveals Michaela Watkins about her role in the new comedy series “Casual.” In our recent interview, she adds, “I like to watch how people respond in moments of stress or joy or all kinds of things. And I love to give advice. For my character, I think it makes her more thoughtful before she reacts. Because she’s human, she’s flawed.”

Watkins plays Valerie Meyer, a recently divorced woman with a teenage daughter (Tara Lynne Barr) who has moved in with her bachelor brother (Tommy Dewey). She is a therapist who has just started dating again and uses the website designed by her brother to hopefully find romance. The show is one of the first original programs for online streamer Hulu and is executive produced by Oscar nominee Jason Reitman (“Juno,” “Up in the Air”).

Regarding the structure of this first-year series, she says, “I feel like you have to hit the ground running in these shows. I think this was important to Jason that he wanted the the show to feel really lived-in. It doesn’t feel like a pilot or that we just dropped into these people’s lives. It’s really important to me that every character that I ever play has to feel real. They have to feel grounded enought that if you saw them at the supermarket, you wouldn’t think they were acting.”

After a string of guest appearances in her early career, Watkins became a featured player on “Saturday Night Live” in 2008. That lasted just one season, and she moved on to appear on “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “Parenthood,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Key and Peele,” “Enlightened,” “Trophy Wife,” “Transparent,” “New Girl,” and “Wet Hot American Summer,” among others.

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UPLOADED May 15, 2016 1:32 pm